Tauranga to host rally champs?

Tauranga is in the running to host a World Rally Championship round in 2018. File photo.

A campaign is under way to bring a World Rally Championship round to Tauranga in 2018.

New Zealand is one of five nations in the running, having last hosted the championship in 2012.

Rally New Zealand chairman Peter Johnston says Australia effectively ‘stole' the event from us, and his organisation has been trying to get it back ever since.

“We were meant to be on a rotation system, but unfortunately Australia has tried to keep it to themselves. But in recent months we've been lobbying very hard to get the rally back to New Zealand.”

There are several countries to trying to secure the rally for 2018, however, including Chile, Turkey, China and Japan.

He says Tauranga is Rally New Zealand's first preference to hold the event, for the dynamics of the scenery, the facilities, and the accessibility to “wonderful” rally roads.

“We're really pushing for Tauranga to be a WRC destination.

“We were fortunate to have the WRC promoter come to the city last week. We showed them all the local facilities and the roads in the region. They were very impressed.”

Regardless of what happens, Peter says a rally event will be coming to Tauranga in 2017, partly as means of testing the roads and conditions out – so watch this space.


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Sunrise from Matua by Janet Hetherington. Send us your photos and stories from around the Bay of Plenty. Email: photos@thesun.co.nz